Google under fire for not taking action against pirate sites

Google has become one of the central components in the fight by the British government against piracy. A report by Guardian shows that the government will take another look at the promise of Google to help stop minimizing the proliferation of piracy on the web.

Google has been accused by many entertainment groups that its not doing enough to help stop piracy.

Britain’s minister for culture Jeremy Hunt had previously warned Google that his ministry would be compelled to demote the sites itself if Google will not do its part.

A year after Google pledged to relegate the sites violating anti-piracy laws, the department for culture, media and sport is saying it is reviewing what changes that Google had implemented.

A DCMS spokesperson hinted that the British government would be forced to ask Google to do concrete things to downgrade contents violating piracy measures in its search results.

Entertainment groups  had continuously criticized Google for allowing piracy sites to dominate its search results despite repeated promises from the search giant to do something about it.

The British government  justifies its demand from Google by saying that it’s the biggest search engine in the country, as 9 out of 10 Britons use it to search for something in the internet. The then culture minister Jeremy Hunt had sent a private letter to Google  threatening it to take effective action or be forced to follow a legislation to do it.

But Google kept a blind eye on the threat as anyone searching for popular music or videos will find out that they’ll get illegal filesharing websites.

Google came up with its own comprehensive list of sites accused of piracy but the said sites still shows up prominently in search results for films and artists.

Google has assured the government that it is taking action by demoting millions of websites every month.

A Google spokesman said: “We continue to work closely with the industry to protect rights holders and their material. Sites with high numbers of removal notices are now more likely to appear lower in our results, we’ve made it easier to report pirated material and now take down more than seven million infringing links per month.”

But entertainment groups, comprising the music, film, and publishing industries, accused Google saying its not doing enough to address the problem.

Chief executive of the BPI, Geoff Taylor, says: “Google said it would stop putting the worst pirate sites at the top of search results. Google’s transparency report shows they know clearly which are most infringing domains. Yet three months into the much-vaunted algorithm change, many of these illegal sites are still dominating search results for music downloads.”

“We are talking to Google to try to establish why this is the case. With the launch of music in Google Play, now is the time to build a genuine partnership and for Google to show the world that it loves music. This means Google must stop dragging its feet and giving profile to illegal sites that it knows rip off everyone working in music,” he added further.

Ranking piracy sites for Google became critical last year after Hunt revealed to Google that he would be introducing a legislation of new laws for the Communications Act if the search giant would not take matters seriously. Hunt was since then reshuffled to become Health minister and was replaced by Maria Miller as culture secretary.

DCMS is still threatening to pass new laws to force Google to do its part.

The British government will meet with Google, rights holders, and internet service providers before Christmas to discuss online piracy.

Google admitted that it had received reports of about 7.6 million websites for the past month, all violating piracy laws. It has fought several attempts to take out websites from its search results by citing freedom of expression concerns. It has maintained its position that demoting the reported sites was not a “silver bullet” in fighting piracy, as there are comparatively few legal services that can replace the search results.

source: guardian

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